NZNBL Round 2 preview: Bulls and Sharks to clash
A BLOCKBUSTER Round 2 of action will see plenty of imports and local talent return to the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL). With Round 1 in the books, there are plenty of different formlines and teams hoping to either rise up or maintain their form from the opening week.
Saturday, May 7 @ 7:30pm
Franklin Pool & Leisure Centre
Franklin Bulls and Southland Sharks both came away with impressive wins in Round 1, and will face in one of the matches of the round for the upcoming weekend. As some imports begin to filter back, it will be tough to judge just what each side’s formline is like, but there is little doubt that the Sharks will be one of the teams to beat. They piled on 117 points in Round 1 against the reigning premiers Wellington Saints, but also effectively the Saints’ second squad. The Bulls had a much-tighter contest to win by four points over Hawke’s Bay Hawks, but like the Saints, they were far from full strength.
The depth of the Sharks is sensational, with Mojave King (23 points, eight rebounds and four assists) was able to roll off the bench and provide support to last week’s highest scorer Alonzo Burton (26 points, six assists and two steals). Big Dom Kelman-Poto started his 2022 NZNBL campaign off in style with 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Bulls. Brayden Inger and Romaro Gill also picked up 10-plus points in the Round 1 victory.
For the Bulls, Anzac Rissetto put up 20 points and 11 rebounds against the Hawks, whilst Denhym Brooke and Isaac Davidson both had 13 points and five rebounds. One area that the Bulls will need to improve on is in the assists area, with Jayden Bezzant notching up seven, the only player to have multiple assists in the match. Leon Henry will be equally as important, looking to support Risetto off the boards against the Sharks bigmen.
Expect Southland Sharks to be favourites here, but the Bulls will be keen to test their defence once again, with the Sharks not to have it as easy as they did in Round 1.
AROUND THE COURTS
Round 2 action tips off otnight with the Hawks looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss the week before, with all-round gun Hyrum Harris set to bolster the list. It should be enough against an Airs side who were even more disappointing, suffering a heavy 33-point loss to Auckland Tuatara despite the best efforts of Tai Wynyard.
Speaking of the Tuatara, they double up this weekend, taking on Nelson Giants and Canterbury Rams in the space of 48 hours. They take on the Giants tomorrow night and will be keen to limit the influence of Trey Mourning who was unstoppable in Round 1. You could hardly fault Auckland’s Round 1 performance though, with dominant duo Chris Johnson and Robert Loe combining well.
After taking on the Bulls Saturday night, the Sharks will also lock horns with the Manawatu Jets on Sunday, with the former strong favourites in that one considering the Jets posted the lowest score of Round 1 (57) compared to the Sharks who put up a round-high 117. In hopefully a closer game than that anticipates to be, the Wellington Saints will be relieved to welcome back stars Jordan Ngatai and Taane Samuel to try and nullify the impact of incredible import Tahjere McCall and his Otago Nuggets.